Other transport: Horton train station on the Settle to Carlisle line is close to the start
Toilets: Horton car park
Refreshments: Pubs and café in Horton, Station Inn at Ribblehead and the Old Hill Inn in Chapel-le-dale
This is a major challenge walk which is long and involves over 1600 m (5000 feet) of climbing over the Three Peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. There is one section on road, but the paths are good. You do need to be able to navigate and cope with conditions in the high fells.
Walk out of the village passing the Golden Lion pub and church and cross a small stream. Then turn left up a minor tarmac road. Follow this up towards Brackenbottom and just before reaching some buildings take a footpath on your left signed to Pen-y-ghent.
Climb steadily up through fields with Pen-y-ghent ahead of you.The final section of the route to the summit is steeper for a while before reaching the trig point and shelter.
Cross the wall at the summit and follow the clear path heading roughly north. This zigzags down, passing the gash of Hunt Pot, to reach the head of a walled lane.
Carry straight on to follow the new path over Whitber Hill to reach a clear track.Turn right and follow this for 1.5km (1 mile) and then take the path on the left towards Birkwith cave. This emerges onto a rough tarmac track, turn left and then right onto an unsurfaced track towards Nether Lodge.
After Nether Lodge follow the long access track up to the B6479.Turn right and follow this to Ribblehead – the road can be busy and you need to take care.
From the road take one of the paths that head towards Ribblehead viaduct. Keep the viaduct on your left and follow an obvious path which runs alongside the railway.
After 2.5km (1.5 miles) the path crosses over the railway besides an aqueduct. The path now starts to climb towards Grain Head. Leave this path by taking the signed route to the left which climbs slowly on to the ridge, which is then followed up to the summit.
To descend, continue to follow the ridge path southwards for 1.5km (1 mile) and then turn left on the signed path down to Bruntscar. Follow the lane towards the valley to reach the B6255. Turn left, go past the Old Hill Inn, and then right on to a level grassy path. Take care as this road can be busy and traffic fast moving.
This goes through a number of fields and then through an area of limestone pavement and past the shakehole known as Braithwaite Wife Hole. The obvious path continues towards Ingleborough climbing gently at first and then steeply to reach the summit plateau.
In poor weather it is easy to leave the plateau in the wrong direction. If needed from the trig point use a bearing of 070’ until the ground starts to steepen, then follow a bearing of 100’.
From the summit plateau follow the path east heading towards Horton-in-Ribblesdale. This drops slowly towards the valley. Continue past a ruined cottage and keep on the main path. This crosses another major path and continues along the obvious feature of Sulber Nick – a small straight valley. There are then only a few fields to go before the path reaches Horton train station with the car park (and pub!) a short distance further on.
Welcome to the OSOC Yorkshire Three Peaks Trek which is a total of twenty-four miles over three successive days. We did not plan to accomplish this distance in one stretch as this consists of a series of consecutive up and down tests as opposed to “simply” trekking downhill! For the record, the current record times are 2 hours 46 minutes and 3 seconds, (men) and 3 hours, 14 minutes and 43 seconds (women). The total ascent is around 1600 metres. OSOC recommends the more gentler exercise of completing a smaller trek each day. The individual distances are six miles, seven and a half miles and ten miles, which is not over strenuous..
Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, 6th - 8th October 2017 (travel to Yorkshire on Thursday 5th October)
Map: Three Peaks Yorkshire Dales: OL 2 Explorer Map Yorkshire Dales - Southern and Western Areas
There are campsites, bunks houses, Airbnb, bed and breakfast, pubs and hotels in Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Austwick, Ingleton and Clapham. Sandra’s suggestion is that the walks are completed in the order listed on this page. For those people who are looking for a central location, she recommends Austwick.
On these pages we list details based on a series of treks based on one walk per day. For completeness, however, we also supply an itinerary for completing all three treks in a day.